Claiming my boy

This came up on my facebook feed this morning…..

Announcing the 2011 Novitiate Class for the Dominican Province of St. Joseph

Christopher –  Tennessee, 21 years old, studied at Notre Dame
Though born in southern California, I was raised in a small Tennessee town, not far from Nashville. I am the oldest of eight children, the youngest five of whom are adopted (two of them from Ethiopia).
I was raised Catholic, but it wasn’t until I was in middle school that fully practicing our Faith started to become important to my family and me. I became an altar server, and in eighth grade I had my first religion classes and went on my first retreat. It was around that time that I began to have sincere thoughts about becoming a priest, but in high school those thoughts were pushed to the back of my mind, later to be more or less dismissed. My faith remained important to me though, as I involved myself heavily in diocese-wide retreats and youth programs. After high school, I went to the University of Notre Dame, and in May 2011 I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theology and Piano Performance.
I spent the spring semester of my junior year of college studying in Rome at the Dominican-run Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (“the Angelicum”). Priesthood and religious life were still only at the back of my mind when I was in Rome, but as the semester progressed, the idea that God might be calling me to the priesthood slowly began to fight back to the forefront …

Now, that’ll wake up a mom; to see her son’s face and bio popping up on a social network feed.  And as I’m working through this process – in my head and heart and blog – toward the Novitiate, this is the formal announcement of their new Novice Class for this coming year.

In a public way, this is the Dominican Order, claiming my son.  Or, precisely, stating their intent to claim.  This coming year will be a year of final discernment on both sides of the equation.  My son will “live the life” and decide if God is truly calling him to a life of prayer and study and service; while the Order will decide, prayerfully, if they think he’s got the chops for it.  Maybe his toe tapping and drumming will become annoying, I don’t know.  Kidding…. But it’s a big year all around, for all of them.

Go see, it also shows a few of his new brothers to be: the whole Novitiate Class that will enter with him in July.  These men, younger and older, will help each other in prayer and company and studying, through the joyous, profound moments, the goofy, and through the tougher times of uncertainty, and homesick for the life left behind.  Big stuff indeed.  I pray daily for all of these  young men and their families.  We welcome your prayers too if you think of it.

11 thoughts on “Claiming my boy

    • Nora, I agree! Tho I suppose I’m biased…. And yeah, I seems to demand that processing. Or my compulsive whirling dervish brain dies at any rate!

  1. Wow. Little Chris. As I mentioned on my fb comment (which you will tell me to delete if it’s inappropriate!), this news has given me pause. I am impressed and inspired that Chris has the clarity and intention to take this path. Not being a Catholic, or for that matter, a church-goer, I was initially surprised. But I recall that when you moved to Tennessee, you said you were embracing the church in a renewed way, and clearly your path (and Tom’s) have given Chris space to explore this calling. From my layperson’s perspective, this is really all about love. And heaven knows, you and Tom have modeled that by the example of your lives. So, rejoice, Mama! (Easy for me to say.) xo

    • Ellis, you’ve always been so thoughtful…I love that. Thank you. Lots a folks are surprised, catholic or not. It’s a less common choice in our post modern age. And your “Layman’s perspective” is clearer eyed than most. It is, precisely, about love. Few recognize that in their rush to scorn, mock, or just dismiss it. It’s precisely a joyful willingness to answer the greatest call to love; with everything you are. I think (granted I have a bias…) it’s a really courageous thing to do…and I never woulda had the determination or brave heart to do it myself. Then again, I’m pretty sure I was called to parent these kids….go figure. Life is funny that way. And I am rejoicing!!! Tho the gulping bittersweet moments are drawing closer and closer…. Thank you sweet ellis.

      • So, when does this actually happen and practically, does it mean he has to be out of contact with you for an extended time? Not sure why this is affecting me so deeply, but I watched a couple of the videos on the website and found myself in tears. I think we all search for our purpose in life, and there is something very powerful about watching a young man, who I last knew as a young child, get to the essence of his purpose so quickly. Especially when that purpose is to find connection with his meaning and his truth, at the expense of all of the trappings that most of us are attached to, even though we know they don’t bring us ultimate happiness. Who knew that YOUR CHILD would be leading the way? And I’m just your average, non-religious, old-enough-to-know-what’s-important-but-not-disciplined-enough-to-embody-it-very-part-time-seeker. Sending love.

      • Ellis, I have post going up tomorrow (friday 24th) that gives the basics of what a Novitiate is/does/means. I’m sure everyone will be sick of me talking about this on blog. But, it’s my blog and I gotta process…its’ really huge for us here. I’m starting to “Leak”…meaning I’m blinking a lot nowadays, getting up and going to flip laundry to hide tears etc. Even tho, I am so happy for him, the goodbye part is pretty tough. that anticipation I should say, I guess, as we haven’t said goodbye yet, but will in one month. Oy.
        And I know just what you mean, on the whod’a thunk it level…….he leads me too, tho, because he is just kinder than I am, and a much better pray-er


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s